Self-Help Health

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With double-digit increases in health-care costs, more companies are turning to consumer-directed health plans, which transfer control — and much of the responsibility for paying — to workers. Features include cost sharing with employees, high deductibles, reimbursement accounts, preventive medicine and health savings accounts, which, like individual retirement accounts, allow workers to sock away money tax free.

Consumer-Directed Health Plans

--Number of employees enrolled with the largest providers, in thousands

2002 -- 41
2003 -- 169
2004 -- 478

--Percentage of large companies offering the plans

2003 -- 21%
2004 -- 32%

Sources: National Business Group on Health; Watson Wyatt Worldwide